Today’s guest blogger is Jacob Cynamon-Murphy, a Sales Engineer at Sonoma Partners.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 and 2011 offered administrators the email router, a separate server component that could be used to deliver emails created in Dynamics CRM and track email conversations to CRM records in an automated fashion. Although it is certainly useful, there is more to activity tracking then email.

Conveniently, there was also Dynamics CRM for Microsoft Office Outlook, a.k.a. the Outlook client. This extremely functional add-in extended Outlook, making it a comprehensive personal information manager and CRM interface. Users could sync emails, tasks, appointments, and contacts with the click of a button, and changes to records in CRM would be automatically synchronized with the records in Outlook… as long as the user's instance of Outlook was running. Like the email router, this was not a perfect solution.

Enter server-side sync, introduced as part of the Dynamics CRM 2013 feature set. This capability, baked in to the CRM 2013 server rather than a separate component (like the email router), allows Dynamics CRM and your email server to chat directly - this will simplify administration. On top of that, it can also be used to sync appointments, tasks, and contacts if you use Microsoft Exchange Server, removing the requirement to have the Outlook client sitting open on users' desktops. Calendars, contacts, appointments, and tasks will be up-to-date, even in Outlook Web Access and mobile devices, once you handle the simple configuration on the server.

Although there are some limits on the supported configurations, this is a huge first step to ensuring that all users have access to all of the data that they need to market, sell, and serve your customers.

CRM Deployment

Email System

Email Sync

Appointments,  Tasks, Contacts Sync

Protocol

CRM Online

Exchange Online

Yes

TBD (Controlled Rollout)

Exchange Web Services

CRM On-Premise

Exchange 2010/2013

Yes

Yes

Exchange Web Services

CRM Online or CRM On-Premise

    - Gmail
    - Hotmail
    - Yahoo
    - MSN
    - Live
    - Outlook.com

Yes

No

POP3/SMTP